Cultural Relevance and Bridging the Divide: Teaching Human Behavior In Conflict- Affected Mindanao

  • Susanne Bennett, Ph.D. The Catholic University of America,Washington, D.C.


This narrative presents an American educator's reflections on teaching human behavior to master's level social workers in the conflict-affected Philippine island of Mindanao. In order to bridge the divide between Westernoriginating theories and social work as it is practiced in developing countries, attention must be given to the relevance of the content, the methods of teaching, and the needs and culture of the host country. For this teaching experience, the intersubjective process that unfolded in the classroom was transformative, enabling the creation of a culturally relevant course and a respectful student-instructor learning alliance. This narrative offers observations and conceptualization about the challenges and beneflts of teaching internationally, and includes comments from the Filipino students who participated in the course.
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